All roads lead to York, Pa.: Whiskey Rebellion linked Bedford and York counties
Jean Bonnet Tavern stands along the Lincoln Highway, west of Bedford in Napier Township, Bedford County. The attractive stone landmark stood on the site since before the American Revolution. The National Register of Historic Places site was named after a 18th-century owner. (Photo courtesy of Wikipedia Commons.) Also of interest: Who were York County’s most influential citizens? and This working list details presidential visits to York and Adams counties and With all those stills, the York County hillbillies?
This blog often teases over the fact that all roads lead to York, Pa. – that there’s a York County link to everything.
The theory was tested in a recent visit, which included a wonderful dinner, at Jean Bonnet’s Tavern in Bedford County, two hours from York County.
The restaurant/inn’s history justifiably makes much of farmers meeting on its grounds in the 1790s to protest the federal government’s Whiskey Tax. Then troops, sent by U.S. President George Washington, camped there on their way to quell the rebellion in western Pennsylvania… .
In overseeing federal action against the uprising, President Washington stayed as the Espy House in downtown Bedford.
The York link comes in after the president addressed that 1794 rebellion. Washington made a stop in York, reportedly his fourth and last such visit.
That visit was marked by an uneasy Susquehanna River crossing from York County to Lancaster County:
“.¤.¤. I rode yesterday afternoon thro’ the rain from York Town to this place, and got twice in the height of it hung (and delayed by that means) on the rocks in the middle of the Susque-hanna. .¤.¤.”
Historians point to the new federal government’s heavy handedness of the Whiskey Rebellion, the Glass Tax and Alien and Sedition acts as hinge points in turning York countians from federalist to anti-federalists. This means York County residents initially held a favorable view about the nation’s strong central government that evolved into a position of distrust, akin to that granted the British crown before the Revolutionary War. So York countians voted for Democratic presidential candidates throughout the 1800s.
OK, Washington’s following the roads to York Town after his business in Bedford is noteworthy. But the all-roads-lead-to-York theory relating to Jean Bonnet takes, well, a second route.
Today, Shannon and Melissa Jacobs own the bustling Jean Bonnet Tavern.
Shannon is from York County, a former Dover-area resident.
That all-roads-lead-York theory has been tested often enough that it is probably time to make it a law.
Also of interest: List of links of luminaries from the Dover area lengthens.